Korean cinema recovered to 94% in the first six months of this year compared to January 2019, the last full pre-pandemic month. The study was undertaken by Shinhan Card Big Data Research Institute based on the usage of loyalty members of Lotte, one of Korea’s three big cinema operators. Korea is one of the few markets in the world that kept cinemas open in the early months of the pandemic, though subsequent closures and restrictions on F&B consumption has impacted attendance significantly.
The number of moviegoers in June recovered to 94% of what it was in January 2019, before COVID-19. In terms of gender, the number of male visitors in the first half of this year increased by 164.8% and the number of female visitors by 55.8%, respectively, compared to the first half of last year. In the first half of 2019, females (64.9%) were more likely to use the service, but in the first half of this year, males were more at 50.1%. By age group, the number of moviegoers of all age groups increased compared to the first half of last year, and especially those under the age of 10 visited the theater 1.6 times more in the first half of this year than in the first half of 2019. Among theater audiences in the first half of the year, those in their 20s accounted for the most at 27.3%, followed by those in their 40s (25.7%), 30s (24.7%), and 50s (14.4%). In the first half of 2019, the proportion of those in their 40s was the highest at 28.6%.The Hankyoreh
Despite predictions that streaming would negatively impact cinema going after the pandemic, the study found the opposite: cinema attendance was higher amongst those that used streaming services (38%), compared to those that didn’t (19%). The overall use of premium formats such as VIP auditoriums, family auditoriums, and private screens increased by 8.5% compared to the first half of 2019. Concessions consumption increased 317.2% compared to the first half of 2021 due to the lifting on restriction of F&B consumption in cinemas.